Updated: Apr 30
Career coach and co-founder of The Workers Journal Eunice Asante lists some of the most common questions and scenarios she gets asked by jobseekers.
She talks about job interviews and the interview process and explains how you can answer and address them.
As a career coach, I have now worked with 100s of clients (no exaggeration) on how to navigate job interviewing successfully.
As a result, I see the interview process almost as a game. The most successful candidates learn the rules of interviewing and play the game to their advantage. This is why I love working with clients - I get to teach others the rules of the game.
And as most people have yet to have access to this level of information, they are kept out of career progression and excelling through the jobs market.
In no particular order, here are some of the most common interview-related questions I get.
Should I apply for a job if I don't meet all of the criteria for?
I spoke to a hiring manager from a large UK local authority, who informed me that she had hired for several positions where candidates did not meet all the criteria.
She hired them because they demonstrated the ability to learn and add value, so the answer to the question is yes, you should apply.
There may be a caveat if the role is very specific and technical, but even then, what's the worst that could happen?
You should apply if you meet most - but not all of the requirements. The main thing most hiring organisations are looking for is demonstrating that you can achieve results, demonstrating that you understand the needs of the organisation and the requirements of the role. The world of work is changing, and hiring organisations accept that candidates can possess transferable skills without having all the listed needs. It will be your job to convince them how you can be an asset to the company.
What do I do if I do not understand an interview question?
This may sound simple, but I was recently asked by a coaching client what I do if I need help understanding an interview question.
Firstly, avoid assuming and don't bluff your way through an answer. Instead, ask for clarification - ie: ‘do you mean……?’
What usually happens is that the other person assumes responsibility for not explaining the question correctly and will often offer more insight into the original question or, at the very least, will rephrase the question, which is just as helpful.
If they don't do that, you can turn your answer into a hypothetical. For example: ‘What I think you're saying is…. and in that case, this is what I would do if I were in this situation.’
What do I do if I am unsure about a position?
Have you ever been in that position where you are considering applying for a job but need clarification on the role or the organisation? If you have, here are a few things I always suggest doing.
● Find out as much information as possible before making any decisions. For example, research the company's website, mission statement, and social media accounts, read their annual reports and reviews on Glassdoor and read anything to give you a flavour of what this organisation is really like.
● If there is a contact number to speak to someone about the role, call the number and be prepared for the call. Ask intelligent questions about the position, team, organisation's needs, and direction, and whatever you need to ask to help you decide whether this is the right role for you. Ask questions in a way that allows you to build rapport because if you choose to go for the position, this initial conversation can also help qualify you as a candidate.
● Connect with people performing a similar role in other organisations on platforms like LinkedIn and ask them questions about what it's like to do the job. Make sure you gain an understanding of the highs and lows of working in this industry. If you decide to go for the position, doing this level of research will help you be better prepared for the interview.
How do I communicate the value I would bring to an organisation?
Communicating your value is about understanding how you will solve problems and achieve outcomes for an organisation and why you believe this will work. You must communicate how you intend to leverage your experience, skills, network, and basically whatever you think is an asset that will help an organisation.
Communicating your value in an interview is key to receiving a job offer. After all, every hiring organisation wants to know they are recruiting candidates who will achieve impact. When thinking about how to add value, it is important to understand the organisation's biggest problems and how they are attempting to solve them. You may also want to understand what the current market is doing and how you can differentiate, learn from the market, or leverage aspects of the market.
If you need help understanding the value you can bring, ask yourself what would happen if you did not perform your role well. What would be the wider consequence for an organisation?
The answer to these questions helps to demonstrate the value you bring. When you are thinking about answering questions around the value you bring, have answers prepared and examples to back up any claims you make and results you think you could achieve.
How do I successfully navigate group interviews?
Many people find navigating group interviews challenging, but there are many things you can do during a group interview to help secure your success. Depending on the nature of the role, group interviews are usually assessing several dynamics, such as:
● How you interact with others, and what your role and contribution in a group setting would look like
● How you communicate and negotiate with others
● How you lead a team, take direction and/ or contribute to teams
● Your level of emotional intelligence, ability to listen and self-awareness
Is dependent on the role and the requirements. Be sure to pay attention to your performance and especially your interactions with others during group interviews.
How do I use a job description effectively?
There is vital information in a job description that many jobseekers ignore. The purpose of the job description is to give you information about the role, organisation and recruitment criteria.
Use this to your advantage. There will be information in the job description that will provide clues about the direction the interview may take, and the types of questions asked during the interview process.
It's the criteria that the hiring panel or organisation will use to measure and appoint each candidate. Pay careful attention to the language used, key priorities and goals. Think about how you can model and strategically use this information to your benefit during the interview process.
I specifically teach my clients how to prepare for job interviews based on the information in job descriptions. Understanding the job description will also give you insight into an organisation's culture and what is essential to the organisation. This can all be beneficial to you during the interview process.
These are a few questions I get often about job interviews and the interviewing process. But there are loads more I could have touched on. Let me know what questions about interviewing and job interviews that you would like me to address.
Get in touch and let me know - I would love to answer your questions.
Until Next Time